The Perpetual Lady Altas had their backs against the wall thrice in their NCAA Season 94 Final Four rubber match against the CSB Lady Blazers. Despite the unfavorable odds, Cindy Imbo kept on swinging to will her squad to a five-set victory.
First obstacle: the Lady Altas were staring at a 2-1 set deficit after dominating the first, 25-17. Jenaelle Tumang and Felicia Cui sparked CSB’s resurgence from a 14-11 hole to snatch the second set, 29-27. While Cui converted the winning ace, Imbo had a chance to turn the tide for Perpetual when an ace of her own brought the Lady Altas at set point. However, her subsequent service error extended the set which led to the Lady Blazers tying the tally at one set apiece.
With momentum on their side, the wards of Coach Jerry Yee dominated the third set by mounting a 16-4 lead. The Lady Altas responded with five quick points after that but to no avail. A service error by Jenny Gaviola gave the set to Benilde, 25-19.
Second obstacle: the Lady Blazers’ confidence was riding high that they followed the same script to open the fourth set. The ladies in green and white seemed to be on their way to face the Arellano Lady Chiefs in the championship round by building a 22-11 advantage. But Imbo did not want to end her NCAA women’s volleyball career in this fashion.
With the Lady Blazers still leading, 23-20, the opposite hitter converted a spike to trim the deficit to two. An error by CSB brought the tally to 23-22 and two consecutive attacks from Imbo gave the lead and set point to the Lady Altas, 24-23. A service error by Hannah Suico extended the set though but Klarisa Abriam gave Perpetual its second set point. This time, Imbo did not leave anything to chance as her spike glanced off Chelsea Umali to force a fifth set, 26-24.
Third obstacle: Rachel Austero’s quick attack from the middle gave CSB a 10-7 edge in the deciding set. But the pride of Cavite sparked a 6-0 run to bring them to within two points of a victory. Imbo scored three straight points to convert a 10-9 tally to a 12-10 advantage. Her successful attack brought the Lady Altas to match point but Umali extended the set with a quick spike off a Perpetual over-reception.
But the graduating Imbo saved the best for last. Another attack that bounced off a CSB blocker gave match point number two and her service ace ended the set and the match at 16-14. More importantly, she led the fourth-seed Lady Altas over the top-seed Lady Blazers to clinch a Finals seat against the Lady Chiefs.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Thus, there’s no question that Imbo is one tough cookie by tallying 32 points on 29 attacks, two aces, and a block. It is the first 30-point game in NCAA Season 94 and the most by any Perpetual player since Honey Royse Tubino’s 35-point explosion in their title-clinching win over the Lady Chiefs on February 6, 2014. Imbo was also a tough customer on the defensive end with 14 excellent digs and 11 receptions.
On a macro scale, her exploits ensured that the UPHSD boy’s, men’s, and women’s volleyball squads will compete for a title in NCAA Season 94. Yet going back to micro, Imbo will have a chance to go out on top. The two-time defending champion Lady Chiefs will definitely be a formidable opponent. But if this game proves anything, Imbo is ready for the bright lights and the big stage.